8 p.m. at Seminole Community College Fine Arts Theatre; also 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday; through Jan. 29; $15; 407-708-2040)
FLORIDA'S HIGHWAYMEN: LEGENDARY LANDSCAPES What Gary Monroe brought to the public in his 2001 book, The Highwaymen: Florida's African-American Landscape Painters caught on like wildfire; collectors can't get enough of the 1950s to 1960s paintings of idealized Florida landscapes created on the fly by the ad hoc but now famous group of roadside hawkers. On Thursday, a private collection of more than 65 original paintings most of them from the personal collection of Geoff Cook will debut with an evening reception and talk by Highwaymen expert Jim Fitch. Meet-and-greets with the artists who are still alive (and working their newfound fame) are planned Jan. 21, March 11 and April 1 (all 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; free with regular admission). A Feb. 16 Black History Month event brings painter Robert Lewis to the museum for an evening reception (5:30 p.m.; $10). And on Feb. 18, collectors can bring up to three of their Highwaymen paintings for evaluation by experts from Grand Antique Mall ($10 per painting; three for $25). A special meet-and-greet on Feb. 4, held under the auspices of ArtsFest, is completely free; no admission required. Those new to this African-American historical discovery as well as the collectors' frenzy will likely find the colorful captures of the Sunshine State's environmental riches similarly addicting. (reception 5:30 p.m., continuing through April 16 at Orange County Regional History Center; $10; 407-836-8500)
6 p.m.-10 p.m. at DMAC; through Jan. 31; free; 407-992-1200)
OTRONICON: ORLANDO ELECTRONIC INTERACTIVE CONVENTION Even the organizers are eager to call this a geek extravaganza, because in this day and age, we all have a little geek in us, don't we? But how hypergeeky is 10 days of video game activities game development workshops, panel discussions, game stations, a Halo 2 tournament and tons of other competitions. Perhaps most telling is this event and we'll quote this directly from the press release for full effect: "Hold on to your pacemakers … on Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m., you can finally put those years of hip-hop dance lessons to good use by comparing your score at the DDR video wall to a pair of Orlando Magic Dancers." We think they out-geeked themselves on this front. To overview the convention activity schedule, go to www.otronicon.org. (through Jan. 29 at Orlando Science Center; $14.95 per day; 407-514-2000)
FLORIDA'S DYING CHILI COOK-OFF We trust dirty rockers to do a lot of things, but cooking for us at least in public is not one of them. We know there are a lot of future rock stars preparing our food in restaurant kitchens around town, and an excursion through Whole Foods will put you in contact with half of Orlando's rock scene. But a chili-cooking contest sponsored by the scurrilous folks involved in the Florida's Dying scene … well, that pushes the limits of gastronomic faith, even for us. Yeah, they had a bake sale to raise money and they did this whole chili cook-off thing a year ago to raise money Florida's Dying likes to raise money, and one day we'll see the trash-rock compilation record that's supposed to come of it all and nobody died. But this crew's nasty sense of humor (and the many ways to disguise ingredients in chili) has us worried. (Full disclosure: For some reason, one of our own has volunteered to be a judge.) Hopefully we'll get to see a couple of bands the almighty Black Lips are playing, along with about a thousand excellent local bands before we wind up in the tiny Will's Pub bathroom for the rest of the afternoon. (with Hex Tremors, Hibachi Stranglers, Fashion Fashion & the Image Boys, Tuff Luvs, Learning Curves, Libyan Hit Squad, Jeanie & the Tits; 4 p.m. at Will's Pub; $8; 407-898-5070; www.floridasdying.com)
REOPENING OF CORNELL FINE ARTS MUSEUM Over the years, there's been a blue-hair connotation to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, tucked away on the Rollins College campus undeserved, considering the depth and breadth of this significant collection of art. Still, there were scads of fans (of all ages) enamored with the quaint sanctuary that sits on the shores of picturesque Lake Virginia. Now, even though that structure has been completely rebuilt, the same welcoming feeling is still there, along with a likeable sophistication. And there's so much to take in besides the new digs. There's Eye to Eye, a striking collection of contemporary portraits, and an extensive display of Civil War illustrations by Winslow Homer. The bad news? It'll cost $5 to visit, as the donations-only policy had to be ditched in favor of progress. (grand reopening 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park; $5; 407-646-2526)
through July 23; $15; 407-896-4231)
Contributors: Jason Ferguson, Steve Schneider, Lindy T. Shepherd[email protected]
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